IPMA International Project Management Association
30 March 2021 / 10:00

The importance of Mindset, Culture and Atmosphere for Self-Organisation in Projects

This whitepaper is the result of an intense collaboration between a diverse group of people who met during the IPMA Hackdays 2020. The IPMA Hackdays were held as part of the 8th IPMA Research Conference and were intended to provide an experience for self-organization in the context of and through projects. Self-organisation is necessary at a time when an increasingly complex context requires people’s creativity. The pandemic shows that it is not the bureaucratic processes and structures that enable us to meet such a daunting challenge but unleashing the potential that people bring to projects.

The basic assumption is that by creating a collective mindset, a synergetic culture, and an atmosphere conducive to the project, tasks can be solved much better in a team. This is the result of leadership, which should create the appropriate conditions, as well as a joint task of each individual team member and the team as a whole. Among other things, it is important to have a common focus on the goals, to take human needs into account, to have a high degree of variety in the team composition, and to create a pleasant working atmosphere.

The authors were able to experience and try out all this first-hand during the short period of the IPMA Hackdays. That is why the team is so enthusiastic about the approach of strengthening the mindset, culture, and atmosphere in projects and thus making a significant contribution to their success. Nevertheless, we need to create the conditions for this. Personally, in the organisations we are engaged as well as at the societal level. In the future, the task of leadership will not so much be to give instructions and point out solutions or ways of working, but rather to promote a mindset, culture, and atmosphere with a motivating effect, which will unleash potential and thus makes extraordinary results possible.

Certainly, it depends on the specific situation where this interaction is particularly effective. In a VUCA world with its dynamics and increasingly complex interdepend­encies, this is the only way forward. It is therefore recommended that all those respon­sible in organisations try it out, gain experience and gradually develop their project work towards this approach. Researchers and respective institutes should carry out further studies to analyse the interrelations and effects in more detail and make recommendations for practice. In our opinion, however, there is no way around our approach in the face of the increasing “war for talent” and search for sustainable development.

The discipline of project management thus grows significantly beyond the previous methodological focus and expands to include the new perspectives mentioned in this Whitepaper. Corresponding events, special interest groups, or one of the next research conferences of the project management associations can point out further impulses and challenges that need to be solved. This is because the previous approaches to managing projects are no longer sufficient, especially in the field of particularly innovative and dynamic projects and programs. The repertoire of project management must be significantly expanded.

To download the IPMA Hackdays publication (Ebook) please visit the IPMA e-shopCLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD OUR EBOOK

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Author of this post

Reinhard Wagner has been active for more than 35 years in the field of project-related leadership, in such diverse sectors as Automotive, Engineering, and Consultancy, as well as various not-for-profit organizations. As Managing Director of Tiba Managementberatung GmbH, a leading PM Consultancy in Munich/Germany, he supports executives of industrial clients in transforming their companies towards a project-oriented, adaptive and sustainably successful organization. Reinhard Wagner has published 36 books as well as several hundred articles and blog posts in the field of project, program and project portfolio management. In more than 20 years of voluntary engagement he served the German Project Management Association (GPM) as well as the IPMA in various roles and was granted for his international commitment with the Honorary Membership of several IPMA Member Associations.